BA(Hons) PhD (UNSW) Grad. Cert. University Learning and Teaching
Caroline Wake is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance. Her research focuses on the relationship between theatre and history: how theatre responds to and represents history and, conversely, how theatre’s own history is archived and recounted, especially in Australia. More often than not, she writes about artists, genres, and organisations that have typically been excluded from Australian theatre history. For over a decade, she has published on the representation, participation, and self-determination of artists with refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. She has also written extensively about experimental autobiography, oral history, and documentary theatre as well as performance art. Recently, she has been researching the history of Performance Space, a Sydney-based organisation that has been at the forefront of contemporary art since the early 1980s.
This research has been published in the edited book Visions and Revisions: Performance, Memory, Trauma (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2013, with Bryoni Trezise), a special issue on “Envisioning Asylum/Engendering Crisis” for Research in Drama Education (2018, with Emma Cox), and articles in Theatre Research International, Text & Performance Quarterly and other leading journals. Her first monograph is forthcoming. Non-traditional research outcomes include producing a large dataset for AusStage, the national performing arts database; working with the UNSW Library, National Library of Australia, and RealTime arts magazine to digitise RealTime's back catalogue; and honouring that same publication in a durational performance. Caroline has also served as a Board Member of Performance Studies international, the discipline’s peak body; Editor of Performance Paradigm, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal devoted to contemporary theatre, performance and visual art in the Asia-Pacific; and Associate Editor of Performance Research.
Beyond the university, Caroline is passionate participant in, and advocate for, the arts and cultural sector. Her research projects often involve collaborations with industry: three of her four Australian Research Council grants involve working with organisations like the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Performing Arts Heritage Network, Sydney Theatre Company, and the Arts Centre Melbourne. She has served on the Board of PACT Centre for Emerging Artists since 2017, and as Chair since 2019. In 2015, she wrote the UNSW submission to, and then appeared in person at, the Senate Inquiry into the Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget on the Arts. The submission was cited in the final report. She is also a long-time theatre reviewer, having worked as a writer and online producer for RealTime arts magazine for over a decade. She now reviews for The Conversation.
Caroline welcomes supervisions in any of the above areas or contemporary theatre and performance more broadly.
Caroline's research has been recognised via the following nominations and awards:
2019. Nominated, with Emma Cox, for the Theatre and Performance Research Association's (TaPRA) Research Prize for Editing (Essay Collections and Special Issues)
2014. Winner of the Australasian Drama Studies Association's Marlis Thiersch Prize for excellence in English-language articles anywhere in the world in the broad field of drama, theatre and performance studies. The article was "Between Repetition and Oblivion: Performance, Testimony, and Ontology in the Refugee Determination Process." Text & Performance Quarterly 33.4 (2013): 326-343 and is available here. The judges' comments are available here.
2006. Winner of the Australasian Drama Studies Association's Veronica Kelly Prize for Best Postgraduate Paper at an ADSA conference. The paper was "Neither Here Nor There: The Laramie Project in Australia."
Since 2015, Caroline has secured over $1.4 million in grant funding.
2018-22. Australian Research Council Linkage Project. iDesign: Reformulating Set Design Aesthetics via a Dialogical Model of Interactivity. CIs: Prof Dennis Del Favero, Prof, Maurice Pagnucco, Dr Caroline Wake, Dr Susanne Thurow, Prof, Dr Lawrence Wallen; Prof Maria Malvina Borgherini, Mr Kip Williams, Mr Michael Scott-Mitchell. ($542,916)
2017. Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities. AusStage Phase 6: Researching Australian Live Performance: Venues, Visualisation, and Internationalisation. CIs: Prof Julian Meyrick, Prof Joanne Tompkins, Prof Rachel Fensham, A/Prof Maryrose Casey, Dr Glenn D'Cruz, Dr Gillian Arrighi, Dr Jonathan Marshall, Prof John O'Toole, Dr Bree Hadley, A/Prof Ian Maxwell, Dr Caroline Wake, Prof Peta Tait, Dr Margaret Hamilton, Ms Janine Barrand. ($465,000)
2016-18. Australian Research Council Discovery Project. Power and Performance: Revaluing Theatre in the 21st Century. CIs: Prof Helena Grehan, Prof Edward Scheer, Dr Eddie Paterson, Dr Caroline Wake. PIs: Prof Peter Eckersall, Prof Janelle Reinelt. ($137,455)
2015-17. Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellowship 2015. Restoring the Contemporary: Remembering Live Art at The Performance Space. CI: Dr Caroline Wake ($327,849)
2020. UNSW Transitional Fellowship ($33,680)
2018. UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme. 3D Virtual Prototyping System. CIs: Prof Dennis Del Favero (iCinema, EPICentre, Art & Design), A/Prof Tomaz Bednarz (EPICentre, Art & Design), Dr Stephen Loo (Art & Design), Dr Grant Stevens (Art & Design), Dr Caroline Lenette (Arts & Social Sciences), Dr Caroline Wake (Arts & Social Sciences), Dr Steven Most (Arts & Social Sciences), A/Prof Hoon Han (Built Environment), Prof Andreas Ortmann (Business), A/Prof Vinayak Dixit (rCITI, Engineering), Prof Maurice Pagnucco (iCinema, Engineering), Prof Claude Sammut (iCinema, Engineering), Prof Travis Waller (rCITI, Engineering), Dr Carol Oliver (Science), Prof Martin Van Kranendonk (Science). ($126,888)
2012-14. UNSW Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia Postdoctoral Research Fellow. The Accidenting of Aesthetics. CI: Dr Caroline Wake ($242,848)